Buying Support

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Why have a Fuel Card?

Nobody goes into business to do paperwork or have to spend time keeping on top of a key business expense like fuel, so by having a fuel card through the BSA Buying Group, you can be assured of the control, security and convenience of branded fuel sites, with the opportunity to make savings against pump prices combined with one simple invoice for all fuel purchases meaning no VAT goes unclaimed.

What is an Fuel Card?

A BSA Fuel Card is a secure method of payment for fuel (and oil etc, if required) and they are issued on behalf of fuel companies to businesses to control their refuelling.

One of the key developments within the fuel card arena is that as travel is changing, there is demand for more and more products and services, which will be included on cards, such as Tolls, tyres etc. These will be available soon.

How much do I pay for the fuel?

On a fixed price fuel card you are given a weekly fixed price for fuel, which is effective at the garages which accept that card (and not all do). The savings will be different, depending on the pump price at each site, so on the motorway, the price that you pay may be 15ppl cheaper than the pump price, but at a local site there may be 2ppl saving. It is not a discount, but a weekly fixed price and you do NOT pay the price that the pump displays, but the price which you are sent each week, in advance.

For fleet cards, you will pay pump price and for the Allstar network, you will pay pump price and a Network Service Fee of £2 per transaction, but in return you get access to 95% of fuel stations in the UK. It is traditionally used as an administration tool, to claim VAT and provide secure payment.

How does it work?

After a simple application process, where you speak to a dedicated BSA Fuel Card Consultant, who advises you on the best network for your requirements, you receive your cards, have the weekly fixed price sent to you on a Friday for the following week and then use the cards at the relevant stations as payment. You are then billed by the card issuer for your fuel, with a breakdown of all purchases - where, when, which card, fuel volume, price etc. and payment is then taken by direct debit a week later. Businesses (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited) who apply will be put through a credit check.

How do I know where I can use the card?

We send you those details of where you use the cards and it depends on which card you chose. For example our Esso card can be used at all Esso branded stations. Shell, however, offer around 500 stations (about half of all Shell sites) at a weekly fixed price. We give you Satelite Navigation files which you can upload as points of interest, an online site locator and can send you a list of sites, as required. In reality, drivers tend to use a couple of local stations and a handful of others when out on the road.

What are the Benefits?

There are many benefits for businesses by using fuel cards:

Summary

Fuel Cards are a flexible, secure payment method for businesses, which allow drivers access to fuel and vehicle related products (if required). There are different pricing policies and differing levels of coverage, depending on the network, so you must look at your requirements and priorities and assess what is the best option for your business.

How do I take advantage of this benefit?

To take up these benefits, you need to be a member of BSA Buying Group. To join, simply call 0800 254 0344 or complete the enquiry form. Joining is very quick and easy, and gives you immediate access to all 24 cost categories.

Frequently asked Questions

Q - We don't have company cars, but can we still have fuel cards?

A - Yes, you can use the fuel card as the method of payment for the fuel, then drivers can reimburse the company for private mileage by whatever accounting method your company uses (eg. Use HMRC rates/apportion fuel on real cost etc. and nett against expenses)

Q - We hire in vehicles, so do we have to have registrations on cards?

A - No, we would always recommend putting registrations on cards for security reasons, but you can put on drivers' names or just have cards embossed 'Card One', 'Card Two' etc. and give them out as required.

Q - We have 2 branches on different accounting cost centres. Do we need 2 accounts?

A - No, we can set up 2 cost centres on the same account.

Q - Is a fuel card just like a credit card?

A - Similar, in that it is a card used to pay for fuel etc., but unlike a credit card, payment in full is taken automatically by direct debit on the date shown on your invoice.

Q - Do I need to keep fuel receipts?

A - No, you are given an HMRC approved VAT invoice for all purchases, with the VAT totalled Simple!

Q - If I have, for example a BP card, can I get a fixed price at all BP sites?

A - No, BP offer a fixed price at around 570 sites, which include all the BP motorway sites and larger main road sites. We give you sat nav files and online site locators as an aid.

Some Fuel Card Anecdote

"We don't have a problem !"

Like many business owners, 'John' MD of a small property maintenance business, with 5 vans, didn't think that he needed fuel cards. "It's not a problem for us; we give the guys cash at the start of the week. We've always done it", but said he'd speak with his Office Manager, who dealt with the fuel. Once he found out how fuel was managed, he was horrified. They kept over £500 in cash in the office over the weekend, to get an early start on Monday, with some drivers just coming in to pick up their fuel money. They relied on drivers bringing back receipts and then they had to reconcile these against money given out and then work out the VAT. Some receipts had sandwiches etc. and fuel on (an admin nightmare) with drivers losing receipts from time to time, meaning that they lost out on reclaiming the VAT. It takes her one day a month to sort out the mess.

With a Fuel Card for each driver, with one VAT approved invoice a week, the fuel admin took 20 minutes a month, improved driver productivity and saved over £200 per year in previously unclaimed VAT.

"We need all sites in the UK"

A specialist machinery company had 10 on call engineers who operated nationwide, on 24 hour call out, and had traditionally had a pump priced card which gave most UK stations for ease of use. They always said that they needed all UK stations available to them. As a result, they paid pump price and a fee for every fill up. However, after doing some analysis on 6 months worth of fill ups, most drivers used a local site frequently, then about 10 sites on main roads and motorways when away from home, so in that time the most sites used by a driver was 20 of the 7600 stations in the UK !

We could cover 104 of the 115 sites used with one card, which can be used at all Shell, Esso, Texaco and Total branded stations, including motorways at a weekly fixed price, which would save them up to 10p per litre on motorways, with no fee per fill up. By providing sat nav files for drivers and having a fully branded network of over 50% of UK stations, sites were easy to find and they saved over £6000 per year in fuel pricing and the transaction fee.

"We don't use motorway sites... in fact I've told my drivers I'll sack them if they do !"

This was effectively the fuel purchasing policy of an ever expanding Utility infrastructure company. They had grown from 1 van operated by the owner and now employed 60 people on the road and operated 20 vehicles. They had won some Council contracts and travelled up to 100 miles from base.

The MD was right, they didn't use motorway sites. By mapping their fill ups, a pattern of leaving motorways and 'A' roads to use supermarkets soon emerged, with an average 2.2 miles per fill up extra for going off route, which for a vehicle which did 20 mpg with a 4 man crew and tools etc. cost an extra 60p per fill up in fuel. Also, 4 men, the 15 minutes extra travelling and queuing was £75 on potentially billable time lost. Clunk, the penny dropped.

We offered a solution with Shell & BP fixed price cards, giving the best motorway and 'A' road coverage at supermarket prices. The MD now encourages his drivers to fill up on the motorways and on 20 vehicles, filling up twice a week is potentially saving £150,000 per year !!!

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